News Short-list for 2014 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize revealed
A short-list of three nominees for the 2014 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize has been revealed in Prague. The award will go to either the B'Tselem Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in Israel, the Jesuit Refugee Service in Malta or Anar Mammadli, a human rights activist from Azerbaijan whose work focuses on election monitoring. The winner of the second edition of the award will be revealed on September 29. It is presented by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Charter 77 Foundation and the Václav Havel Library.
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The mountain rescue service in Jeseníky Mountains has called a third degree avalanche alert on a five point scale. Relatively mild temperatures, strong winds and up to thirty centimetres of fresh snow over the weekend are reported to have created a highly unstable layer of snow on many slopes. Skiers have been warned not to take risks or stray from marked trails.
A forum on anti-Semitism opens in Prague on Monday within two days of remembrance events marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The forum Let My People Live, organized by the European Jewish Congress, will address the danger of growing anti-Semitism, the role of the media in shaping public opinion, the role of politicians in combating xenophobia and legislative measures against intolerance. In the evening there will be a gala reception at Prague’s Municipal House. On Tuesday, Holocaust Remembrance Day, a commemorative ceremony will be held at the site of the Terzin ghetto, north of Prague. The commemorative events in the Czech Republic will be attended by around 500 foreign gusts including two presidents, around thirty heads of parliament and cultural figures.
The Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka has stressed the need for interreligious dialogue as a means of diffusing the tension in Europe in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Speaking on a visit to Belgium, the cardinal said dialogue was the way to greater understanding and tolerance but noted that at a time of heightened emotions attempts at such dialogue often failed. He said that some of the public exchanges he had heard at home showed a basic lack of understanding of both Christianity and Islam.
The Czech Helsinki Committee has called for better conditions in Czech prisons. The committee has given MPs in the lower house a list of problem areas which it says should be given consideration in the process of drafting amendments in the law on prison service. Among the improvements suggested are the right to a shower daily, better quality food and a radio in every cell.
Anti-nuclear organizations in Upper Austria have jointly filed a complaint against Czech plans for the expansion of the Temelín nuclear power plant by another two reactors, the APA news agency reports. The news was confirmed by Upper Austrian Environment Minister Rudi Anschober who said that all possible steps would be taken to prevent the project. Anti-nuclear organizations on the Czech side –South Bohemian Mothers Against Temelín, the Civic Initiative for Environmental Protection and Calla – have also filed a complaint against the State Institute for Nuclear Safety for approving the expansion plans. For the present time the project has been put on hold for financial reasons.
The Food Inspection Office has issued a health warning about a sesame paste sold on the Czech market which was found to contain salmonella bacteria. The product, sold under the name Alnatura Tahin Bio Sesammus, sells in the Globus supermarket chain.
Petr Václav's social drama "The Way Out" (Cesta ven) won the fifth annual Czech Film Critics’ Awards on Saturday night, picking up prizes for Best Film, Best Direction and Best Screenplay. Klaudia Dudová, who is not professionally trained, won the award for Best Actress for her portrayal of a young Roma woman seeking security and a better life. The award for Best Documentary went to director Martin Dušek and producer Kamila Zlatušková for their story about people who customize cars, "Into the Clouds We Gaze" (K oblakům vzhlížíme). The award for Discovery of the Year was given to Jiří Mádl for his directorial debut "To See the Sea" (Pojedeme k moři).
Meteorologists have issued a snow warning for Moravia and Silesia. Heavy snowfall is expected overnight with up to 20 centimetres of fresh snow in places. Drivers have been warned to expect snowdrifts and the fact that less frequented roads may be impassable. Night time temperatures should fall to minus 6 degrees C and day temperatures are expected to remain below freezing point.
The newly elected head of the Green Party Jana Drápalová has said she wants to unite the party and lead it to success in next year’s regional elections. Ms. Drápalová, who is mayor of the Nový Lískovec district in Brno, said the party must convince people that Green solutions are beneficial and would improve the quality of life for them and their children. Her chief rival for the post Petr Štepanek was elected deputy chairman. At its weekend conference the Green Party also voted to change its statutes to open the way for dual party leadership as of next year.
The Green Party elected Jana Drápalova party leader at a two-day conference in Brno over the weekend.Ms.Drapalova was elected by 115 out of 198 votes. The party has been without a proper leader since Ondřej Liška resigned as its head in June of last year following the Greens poor showing in elections to the European Parliament, where they won a mere 3.7 percent of the votes. The Green Party participated in the centre-right coalition government between 2007 and 2009, but their influence on Czech politics has been marginal since and they failed to win a single seat in the lower house in the last general election.